Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Awarded Honours to Oliver Franklin and Darren Walker

Awards recognise both the Honorary Consul of Greater Philadelphia and the President of the Ford Foundation for their services to UK-US relations

(NEW YORK – 11 October 2022): The British Consulate-General in New York is pleased to announce that Oliver St. Clair Franklin has been granted an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and Darren Walker has been granted an honorary Order of the British Empire (OBE). The honours were awarded posthumously on September 23rd in recognition of Honorary Consul Franklin’s and Mr. Walker’s “services to UK/US relations.”

Honorary Consul Franklin was appointed to his role as the representative of the UK government in Greater Philadelphia in 1998. Since then he has liaised with the Consul General in New York and the British Embassy in Washington, DC to support and promote UK efforts and activities in the Greater Philadelphia region. In this role he has hosted senior members of the British Royal Family, UK government ministers and members of Parliament. He also founded a program for Philadelphia public high school students to visit London and another initiative to provide opportunities for mid-career American minorities to work in UK investment banks. 

In 2019, Honorary Consul Franklin received ‘The Distinguished Friend of Oxford’ Award, and was also elected an Honorary Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford where he studied as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He is leading member of the business community of Philadelphia and a board member of the British American Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, partnering on initiatives that support US-UK commercial endeavours and promote a positive relationship with the UK.

Mr. Walker is President of the Ford Foundation, a $16 billion international social justice philanthropy. During his career in philanthropy and social justice, he has played an essential role in supporting, expanding, and innovating the alliance between the UK and the US -- further deepening the relationships between the two countries and their shared impact on the pursuit of democracy and human dignity in a rapidly changing world.

Mr. Walker has directed financial and social capital to advance shared goals with the British government through partnerships with its former Department for International Development on major initiatives to advance government transparency and accountability, reduce gender based violence, and promote democracy. With British counterparts, he has played a key role in mobilizing coalitions to promote equitable vaccine distribution, deliver financial commitments at the COP 26 Summit on climate, and foster innovation in the field of mission related investment (MRI) as a way to leverage private sector resources for public good.  Mr. Walker served as a key advisor for early efforts to develop the MRI field in the UK.

Mr. Walker is an Honorary Fellow of The British Academy. He has also supported transatlantic cultural and artistic exchanges, providing resources for the Tate Modern, and early funding of the musical Hamilton which has inspired thousands of Britons and Americans since opening in the West End in 2017.

After announcing the award, Emma Wade-Smith, His Majesty’s Consul General in New York and Trade Commissioner for North America, said: “I congratulate our dear friend Oliver St. Clair Franklin and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker on these well-deserved honours. For a quarter of a century, Oliver has championed UK-US ties and cooperation, using his business acumen and adroit public diplomacy skills. Similarly, for nearly three decades Darren has been a transformative force for good in the philanthropic sector, driving our two nations towards a more socially just future. We are grateful to both of them for their service and dedication in championing UK-US cooperation.”

Upon accepting the title, Honorary Consul Franklin said: “I am humbled and honoured to be appointed CBE, an Order of Chivalry that recognized merit across all sections of society. A new monarch and government represents new beginnings. It's exciting. I will continue to do what I can to bring our countries closer together.”

Upon accepting the title, Mr. Walker said: “I am humbly grateful and extremely honoured for this award and to be recognized for my work to fight inequality and champion the individuals, institutions, and ideas that are catalysts for positive change. None of this would have been possible without the collaboration and support of my friends and colleagues whom I deeply respect and admire. In accepting this OBE, I remain committed to helping create change and build bridges toward a more just and equitable world.”

The UK honours system recognises exceptional achievement and service to the nation and includes non-British nationals who receive honorary awards for their important contribution to British interests. All British honours are awarded on merit, and honorary awards are conferred by the sovereign on the advice of the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Secretary. The Commander of the Order of the British Empire was founded in 1917. Honorary Consul Franklin may forthwith use “CBE” after his name should he wish to do so. The Order of the British Empire was also founded in 1917. Mr. Walker may forthwith use “OBE” after his name should he wish to do so.  

Credit: British Consulate of New York